On Values and Authenticity – A Conversation With Dr. Joe Oliver

The next guest of the OnCoaching podcast is Dr. Joe Oliver!

Welcome Back to OnCoaching!

I hope you are ready for a new set of conversations! I guess you have noticed that there was a gap in the publication of the episodes, as OnCoaching was “off” for three months, but we are back. Although not planned in such a way, but this episode is a perfect re-starting point as our conversation with Dr Joe Oliver just touched my own personal journey in these three months. I was at a choice point, or I should rather say that a series of them?

Fortunately, I was stuck mostly between positives. (Reading all the news about how the world goes these days I, really felt and do feel grateful.) Engaging clients with new needs and challenges, working towards a new professional certificate, renewing an old but super-important certificate, attending university classes, being there for my family and kids, friends and running a podcast. All of these are positively challenging and fulfilling experiences. But they all take their time if I want to do them properly, so decisions had to be made to get the “fullest” experience of life in these weeks. And with a heavy heart I have chosen to turn off OnCoaching for a while.

Although such a situation easily invites a “noproblemo” stance – as some of my friends would label it – it is a great opportunity to examine the way how we make choices. Deciding between a good and a bad option – if you really have a choice – e.g. spending time with your kids or doing some non-necessary extra work on the weekend, is the really easy thing. Deciding between two bad options, or two options that seem to be equally good… for me and for some of my clients these are the real challenges.

What do you have at the heart of decisions? “Analysis!” – I hear most of you saying. “Emotions and intuition!” – would be the next one to come up if we were talking next to a drink. All of these do sound good.

But we need values as a foundation. We need to have a very personal understanding of what is good for us.

How can we be the best versions of ourselves, and live the most meaningful lives in our own standards.      

The Power of Values in Decision-Making

In this episode I was talking with Dr. Joe Oliver who is the founder of Contextual Consulting (among other things) and one of our key topics was values.

Value as a concept sounds very abstract, and in my practice as a coach and OD consultant I have frequently heard people complaining about the “emptiness” of corporate values, or the “value crisis” in their lives or in society overall. In our discussion Joe has talked about the actionable aspect of values, and I really liked that. Making choices in a way that they reflect our values in daily routines, “small behaviours” or bigger decisions. Making sense of having a value through actions.

In my three months of “podcast silence” I was living that, although in a not too conscious manner. I did do my analysis, I did feel what was the right thing to do for me, but I did not state the values I was following. But talking about values invited me to a good deal of self-reflection (OK a lot of things invite me for that) and I did go for a pretty long thinking about my values.

Exploring Authenticity and Vulnerability

The other highlight of our conversation was around the topic of authenticity. How is it related to our values? To vulnerability? Or to consistency? All great topics, and Joe has been an excellent conversation partner in exploring them.

What I personally liked in this session is Joe’s elegant approach, and the ease with which he brought up examples or found the key elements of my sometimes overcomplicated questions. I usually start with the formal introduction of my guests, but now I have left it to the end:

Joe is a consultant clinical psychologist and founder of Contextual Consulting, an organisation providing training, supervision and therapy in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). He is also an associate professor and overall programme director for the University College London CBT for Severe Mental Health Problems post graduate programme. Joe is an active member of the Association of Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS), previously holding the position of secretary on the ACBS UK & Ireland Chapter Board. He is also a peer reviewed ACBS ACT trainer and an ACBS fellow. Joe regularly provides ACT and contextual-cognitive behavioural therapy training, both nationally and internationally. He has written 6 ACT books, including: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy & Mindfulness for Psychosis, and the self help book, ACTivate Your Life and several text books, including Acceptance and Commitment Coaching, ACT: 100 Key Points and Techniques and most recently, the Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Self Esteem.

I'll let you explore the answers by listening to the conversation here:

I am happy to hear your reflections and comments! Commenting is available under my LinkedIn post of this episode. Reach the post through my profile here)

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